Ahead of the Curve – Reloop’s Contour Gets an A+
German company Reloop is quickly gaining popularity in America thanks to its excellent build quality and innovative product design. Nowhere are these two characteristics more evident than in the Reloop Contour Interface Edition. My first impression of the Contour was that it looked like a modified knock-off of the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol X1. Boy, was I wrong. After only five minutes of playing with the Contour, my initial feeling was completely overruled by an extreme desire to go purchase one of my own.
What immediately blew me away about the Contour was that, although it looks rather compact and lacking in features, you could easily get away with using just one of these units for complete DJ control. The full layout of the controller is dedicated to controlling every aspect of just one deck in your favorite DJ software (the Contour is optimized for use with Traktor and is bundled with a copy of Traktor LE). Transport functions, cue points, looping, and more FX controls than I’ve ever seen on a single unit are all readily available, as well as a library browser and even audio controls like the deck filter and pan knobs.
What’s fantastic about this controller is that because all of the unit’s real estate is dedicated to just one deck, the buttons, knobs, and faders are huge and really easy to manipulate. Four buttons – placed just enough out of the way that they aren’t intrusive but are still easily accessible – switch between four decks with the greatest of ease, offering you full control over your four-deck software with the push of a button. The only thing the Contour won’t do for you is mix audio, but luckily the Interface Edition has made provisions for that.
In addition to being a really awesome four-deck controller, the Contour Interface Edition is also a handy ASIO soundcard. Most controller/interface combos provide a master out, a headphone/cue out, and maybe even a monitor out. Not so with the Contour Interface Edition. Instead, because this unit doesn’t have an option to mix internally, the Contour provides four different stereo outs as well as a headphone output. With each deck assigned to one of these channels and the channels then run through a mixer, you could successfully manage mixing an entire set with just one of these controllers and a mixer.
The Contour Controller Edition is almost identical to the Interface Edition, with the exception that it doesn’t have any audio output capabilities. However, the USB MIDI capabilities work just the same, so if you already have a four-deck soundcard you’re happy with, the Controller Edition may be the best option. Alternatively, one Interface Edition may be used in combination with multiple Controller Editions to gain control of all available decks at once. In that case, you’d have a mega-controller perhaps more awesome than anything else on the market.
It took me only minutes to realize just how awesome the Reloop Contour Interface Edition really is. The design is fantastic and the ability to switch between all four decks on just one unit is something I’ve never seen before. From start to finish I also was constantly impressed by the build quality: the metal casing, the rubber knobs, and the bright LEDs all have the look and feel of an extremely well-made controller. In my opinion, the Contour is a definite buy, whether one prefers the Interface Edition or Controller Edition. The amount of value packed into just one of these units is truly amazing.